How to store ammo?

How to store ammo?

This is a discussion on How to store ammo? within the Defensive Ammunition & Ballistics forums, part of the Defensive Carry Discussions category; How do I store ammo, for the long term-10+ years? 30+years? so forth?...

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  1. #1
    Ex Member Array maddyfish's Avatar
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    How to store ammo?

    How do I store ammo, for the long term-10+ years? 30+years? so forth?


  2. #2
    AzB
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    Dry is most important. The biggest problem with long term storage of ammo is corrosion on the outside of the cartridges. Keep 'em dry, and wipe off fingerprints. If, after 5 or 10 years of storage, you see some light corrosion, you can clean the corrosion off with brass polish.

    High or low temps aren't really a problem, but widely varying temps can cause condensation. See above about moisture.

    The best thing to do is mark a date of purchase on your box of ammo and as you buy newer ammo, use the older ammo first. This keeps your ammo supply fresh.

    But keep it dry and the ammo will last longer than you.

    Az

  3. #3
    Member Array mauser1959's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by maddyfish View Post
    How do I store ammo, for the long term-10+ years? 30+years? so forth?

    Get ammo cans, surprise, that the cans that the US Government get are the best around, fill them with your favorite caliber of ammo. Make sure that the seal is good, then lock down the top, tape around the rim for extra security. I do not know how much the tax payers payed for the cans, but I am glad that we get to reap the results. It does help to put a desiccant in the cans, but if the storage is reasonable it is not really necessary.

  4. #4
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    Cool & Dry is ideal.

    My basement stays cool. "Dry" is an easily created created environment.

    I dump all of my ammo out of the original packaging into Zip Loc bags.
    I tear an info flap off the boxes and put that in the bag so that I have the specs of exactly what each bag contains.

    Then I zip the bag almost all the way closed and suck as much air out of the bag as possible & to collapse the bags.

    Then I shelf it.

    Sounds weird but, it sure works for me and I've been doing that for years.

  5. #5
    Member Array NativH's Avatar
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    I purchase 50 cal ammo cans from my local army surplus store and put some paper towels in the bottom just because. My ammo is stored in a closet in the house so temp and humidity are pretty tightly controlled. Each box has the cal written on it with a marker so I know what it what. For $10 a can, it is hard to beat and I don't have to rummage around in unmarked boxes to find the right caliber when I need it.
    SE Texas Patriot Guard Rider, NRA Patron, TSRA Life Member

  6. #6
    Member Array ken45's Avatar
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    No, "dry" is not the most important. Avoiding heat is the most important!


    Ammo is pretty impervious to moisture.

    Corrosion? I have some Geco ammo that dad brought back from WWII and some Peters ammo from just after the war. It is NOT corroded at all and still fired fine when I got it 15 years ago.

    I would not "clean it off with brass polish", that is grit that will someday be going down a gun barrel.


    Quote Originally Posted by AzB View Post
    Dry is most important. The biggest problem with long term storage of ammo is corrosion on the outside of the cartridges. Keep 'em dry, and wipe off fingerprints. If, after 5 or 10 years of storage, you see some light corrosion, you can clean the corrosion off with brass polish.

    High or low temps aren't really a problem, but widely varying temps can cause condensation. See above about moisture.

    The best thing to do is mark a date of purchase on your box of ammo and as you buy newer ammo, use the older ammo first. This keeps your ammo supply fresh.

    But keep it dry and the ammo will last longer than you.

    Az

  7. #7
    AzB
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    Quote Originally Posted by ken45 View Post
    No, "dry" is not the most important. Avoiding heat is the most important!
    I respectfully disagree. Ask the troops in the desert. Even at 140+ degrees, the ammo works fine. And in all likelihood, your ammo was made by the same manufacturer.

    Sorry I wasn't clear, but I was talking about normal ambient temps found on earth. I do not recommend storing your ammo on the sun.

    Quote Originally Posted by ken45 View Post
    Ammo is pretty impervious to moisture.
    Moisture will not hurt the ammo, per se. But it will cause the brass cases and copper jacketing to corrode. This can and will cause fouling problems while firing.

    Quote Originally Posted by ken45 View Post
    Corrosion? I have some Geco ammo that dad brought back from WWII and some Peters ammo from just after the war. It is NOT corroded at all and still fired fine when I got it 15 years ago.
    I've got some WW2 ammo as well. It was kept in the same place as some bringback guns. The guns have no corrosion at all, but the shells and projectiles are pretty green. It fires fine (after cleaning the corrosion off) but keep in mind that WW2 era ammo uses corrosive powder. Clean those guns real well after using old ammo. Or better yet, don't use WW2 era ammo.

    Quote Originally Posted by ken45 View Post
    I would not "clean it off with brass polish", that is grit that will someday be going down a gun barrel.
    You can get brass polish that is non-abrasive.

    But yes, if you use even the gentlest of brass polish, you should make sure all the polish is removed before you fire the ammo.

    Az

  8. #8
    Member Array ken45's Avatar
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    Okay, we both need to be more specific, LOL.

    Sure, ammo will function at 140 degrees, but I sure wouldn't store ammo in a hot summer attic for 10 or 20 years and trust it. "Temperature" is often a "time"+"temperature" issue.

    None of the 60+ year old ammo I have has any green on it and it's been in the basement. Well actually I have no idea where dad stored it, I assume in the basement.

    Ken



    Quote Originally Posted by AzB View Post
    I respectfully disagree. Ask the troops in the desert. Even at 140+ degrees, the ammo works fine. And in all likelihood, your ammo was made by the same manufacturer.

    Sorry I wasn't clear, but I was talking about normal ambient temps found on earth. I do not recommend storing your ammo on the sun.



    Moisture will not hurt the ammo, per se. But it will cause the brass cases and copper jacketing to corrode. This can and will cause fouling problems while firing.



    I've got some WW2 ammo as well. It was kept in the same place as some bringback guns. The guns have no corrosion at all, but the shells and projectiles are pretty green. It fires fine (after cleaning the corrosion off) but keep in mind that WW2 era ammo uses corrosive powder. Clean those guns real well after using old ammo. Or better yet, don't use WW2 era ammo.



    You can get brass polish that is non-abrasive.

    But yes, if you use even the gentlest of brass polish, you should make sure all the polish is removed before you fire the ammo.

    Az

  9. #9
    AzB
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    Quote Originally Posted by ken45 View Post
    ...but I sure wouldn't store ammo in a hot summer attic for 10 or 20 years and trust it. "Temperature" is often a "time"+"temperature" issue.

    None of the 60+ year old ammo I have has any green on it and it's been in the basement. Well actually I have no idea where dad stored it, I assume in the basement.

    Ken
    FWIW, my old ammo was stored in an attic in Georgia.

    Az

  10. #10
    Member Array thedogfather's Avatar
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    I recently shot some Remington .357 mag that I've had for about 20 - 25 years. Kept in the original box and stored in a GI ammo can. The can was usually kept in a bedroom or hallway closet as I moved around. It shot just fine. Funny, the price on the box was $18. Today, close to $40.

  11. #11
    VIP Member Array frankmako's Avatar
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    i use army ammo cans, coffee cans, and the box the ammo comes in. all works. now with the plastic coffee cans they are allmost as good as ammo cans. i have stored reloads in ammo cans that work after 24 years. hard to beat.
    An armed man is a citizen. An unarmed man is a subject.

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    Some questions first:
    How much ammo are you talking about?
    Check with your local fire department as there may be codes that state how much ammo may be stored in a home and how it must be stored. This is for your safety as well as emergency responders'.

    In contrast to popular belief, or opinion, ammo is best stored in wooden containers. A wooden box is more resistant to heat tranfer in case of a fire than metal. Yes, the wood will eventually burn, but the metal container will have exploded long before. I know ammo cans are popular and convenient, but they are not the safest method of storing ammo.


    Where are you storing it? In a closet? A garage safe? A hole in the backyard?

    In a humity-controlled environment, as most homes are, no special effort is needed to preserve ammo. It should be kept away from dampness (don't store in in the bathroom even though most ammo is essentially sealed) and extended periods of high heat (as in the attic). Yes, I know ammo is stored in the desert by the military, but it's usually not there "long-term" and it's in protected and sealed containers that you probably don't have.

    Ammo doesn't "get old" if it's given even the most reasonable care. WWII ammo is still being used, after all. Small amounts can be kept in sealed plastic containers (think Tupperware). Most corrosion on ammo comes from handling it. Your skin oil and perspiration cause most damage. Handled ammo can be wiped down with a clean, dry cloth. No cleaning or polishing solutions are necessary.
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